Sebastian Sylvester and Larsen victorious On Povetkin-Byrd Undercard

sylvester sebastian28.10.07 - Sebastian Sylvester defended his European middleweight belt with a split decision over Italy´s Simone Rotolo. From the third round on, the Hurricane had to overcome a cut below his right eye which he had sustained in sparring. "I started out strongly but briefly lost my rhythm after the cut opened," the 27-year-old (27-2, 13 KOs) said. "I tried to focus on my defence in the following.."

Not that he neglected his offensive duties, though. In the fourth, he knocked Rotolo down with a thunderous one-two combination before cruising to an uncontested win. His dominance was not mirrored by the scorecards, though, with two judges ruling the contest 115-112 and 115-114, while the third one called the bout 116-112 in favour of the challenger. Even the Italian admitted he was "surprised" by the verdict. "I fought well but I don´t think I won," Rotolo said. "I was surprised when I heard the result." And Sauerland managing director Chris Meyer added: "Maybe the judge got mixed up with the corners.."

Manager Winfried Spiering praised his fighter for a "disciplined effort". He said: "Sebastian desperately wanted to take the fight despite the cut, so we adjusted our tactics accordingly. Sebastian stuck to the game plan well. He has big things coming up." Spiering has set his sights on a meeting with WBA champ Felix Sturm. "We want to finally fight him in 2008," he added.

Also on the undercard, Mads Larsen (49-2, 37 KOs) cruised to the fourth win after his comeback when he clinched a unanimous points victory over previously unbeaten Emiliano Cayetano. He was ahead 79-75, 79-73 and 78-74 on the scorecards. "I am happy about the win but not entirely pleased with my performance," the 34-year-old said. The Golden Boy had to survive an early scare in the first round when a big right hook knocked him down for the first time of his career. "I have never been down before so I needed some time to adjust," Larsen admitted. In the following, the former European super-middleweight champion worked well behind his strong right jab to keep Cayetano at bay and cruise to an uncontested victory. Cruiserweight Yoan Pablo Hernandez (13-0, 7 KOs) also clinched a shutout victory over Ismail Abdoul.

In The main event, Alexander Povetkin (14-0, 11 KOs) has vowed to take "one step at a time" following his impressive TKO victory over Chris Byrd. The 2004 Olympic gold medal winner is just one victory away from challenging IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko after stopping Byrd in the 11th round of their eliminator in Erfurt. When Povetkin trapped the American in his corner to launch yet another furious assault, Joe Byrd threw the towel. "This was a big win for me," Povetkin said. "Byrd was a strong and very experienced opponent. He defended well but I kept trying. The win was a giant stride towards my ultimate goal."

From the first bell on, Povetkin stamped his authority on the bout. Constantly marching forward, he was best when he pinned Byrd in the corner or in the ropes and pelted him with heavy combinations. "I have never seen my son take so many shots," Joe Byrd admitted afterwards. "I take my hat off to Povetkin. He will be the next champion."

Povetkin used his explosiveness and punching power to wear the 37-year-old down. "He was more determined and deserved to win," Byrd (40-4, 21 KOs) praised afterwards. "He is like a young tiger and reminds me of the fighter I was when I was 13-0. He will go a long way from here and win the title."

The 4.000 fans in Erfurt roared every time the former world amateur champion fired in his heavy hands. With 68 seconds remaining in the penultimate round and Povetkin about to go for the kill, Byrd´s corner decided their fighter had taken enough punishment. "Today Alexander proved why we hold him in such high esteem", manager Wilfried Sauerland lauded. "That was a great performance and a spectacular fight which fascinated the crowd."

Povetkin will battle out a final eliminator with either Calvin Brock or Eddie Chambers, who clash in early November, to determine the next mandatory challenger for Klitschko. "I am not thinking about Klitschko just yet," Povetkin vowed. "I will keep working hard in practice and take one step at a time."

Article posted on 28.10.2007

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